Better Roads

August 2013

Better Roads Digital Magazine

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Lattatudes Editorial Editor-in-Chief: John Latta Editorial Director: Marcia Gruver Doyle Online Editor : Wayne Grayson Online Managing Editor : Amanda Bayhi Editor Emeritus: Kirk Landers Truck Editor: Jack Roberts Construction Editors: Tom Jackson, Tom Kuennen, Dan Brown, Lauren Heartsill Dowdle Invite Them and They Will Come Design & Production Art Director: Sandy Turner, Jr. Graphic Designer: Kristen Chapman Advertising Production Manager: Linda Hapner Construction Media Senior VP of Market Development, Construction Media: Dan Tidwell VP of Sales, Construction Media: Joe Donald Corporate Chairman/CEO: Mike Reilly President: Brent Reilly Chief Process Officer: Shane Elmore Chief Administration Officer: David Wright Senior Vice President, Sales: Scott Miller Senior Vice President, Editorial and Research: Linda Longton Vice President of Events: Alan Sims Vice President, Audience Development: Stacy McCants Vice President, Digital Services: Nick Reid Director of Marketing: Julie Arsenault 3200 Rice Mine Rd NE Tuscaloosa, AL 35406 800-633-5953 For change of address and other subscription inquiries, please contact: Better RoadsTM magazine, (ISSN 0006-0208) founded in 1931 by Alden F. Perrin, is published monthly by Randall-Reilly Publishing Company, LLC.© 2013. Executive and Administrative offices, 3200 Rice Mine Rd. N.E., Tuscaloosa, AL 35406. Qualified subscriptions solicited exclusively from governmental road agencies, contractors, consultants, research organizations, and equipment and materials suppliers. Single copy price $5.00 in U.S. and Canada. Subscription rate for individuals qualified in U.S. and Canada $24.95. Foreign $105.00. Special group rates to companies qualified in quantities over five names. We assume no responsibility for the validity of claims of manufacturers in any advertisement or editorial product information or literature offered by them. Publisher reserves the right to refuse non-qualified subscriptions. Periodical circulation postage paid at Tuscaloosa, Alabama and additional entries. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage retrieval system, without written permission of the copyright owner. For quality custom reprints, e-prints, and editorial copyright and licensing services please contact: Linda Hapner, (224) 723-5372 or POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS. (See DMM 707.4.12.5); NON-POSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: send address corrections to Better Roads, 3200 Rice Mine Road N.E.,  Tuscaloosa, AL  35406. L et me hang a little dirty laundry out on the line. People make assumptions about the news business. Sometimes people think that the news media is biased or is bought and paid for. And in some cases it is. But that's not the laundry I'm hanging out. No, my laundry comes from the everyday life of a newsroom. A fact of life in such places today is that there are fewer reporters than there used to be. Our declining newspapers especially suffer and television fares a little better but not much. The handful of major players may be exceptions. At the same time specialist news outlets pop up all over the web, many of them oneman operations with experts focusing very narrowly on their topic. That's good perhaps for you and I because it delivers a lot of expert voices. But the public doesn't go to these places. So the people out there don't really know enough about the work you do. But what is enough? The general idea is that an informed public is the best way to ensure our system works at its most efficient. A public that understands your value to the community, the difficulties you face out there on the jobsite, how their fuel taxes are working, why repairs have to be made, why some work takes a while and so on. Back to the shrinking newsrooms. The reporter covering transportation infrastructure issues in your town is probably not a transportation specialist. That reporter will cover a variety of subjects in a day's work. Now the laundry. To do the job the journalist will gather low-hanging fruit. It may come from a press release; it may be some obviously videogenic work where a bridge is being replaced or a road is blocked off. It may be a breaking news story like a broken water main or sinkhole. Not much depth. So the coverage leaves the public mostly in the dark about what you do. But that reporter, given a good supply of information and education and people to talk to, given the chance to "own" the topic, to understand it enough to do some really good work, can be a huge asset to you. That reporter can help educate a public that will, for example, be influential in how much funding is made available for road and bridge work, a public that will take more care in work zones and that will not blame you for every pothole they hit. So find the local reporters covering your industry and invite them to your office and out to a jobsite. Invite them by John Latta, Editor-in-Chief and they will come. Better Roads August 2013 5 Lattatudes_BR0813.indd 3 8/1/13 9:36 AM

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